NURSING staff preparing for a move into a new state-of-the-art community hospital are being given the chance to train in mock wards.

Work on East Lothian Community Hospital is well under way, with the new outpatients’ section taking shape.

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The £70million hospital is being built on the site of Roodlands Hospital, Haddington, and will incorporate facilities from nearby Herdmanflat Hospital.

And as work continues to create a new, modern hospital, staff have been able to get a feel for how it will look through a mock ward room, complete with en-suite toilet facilities and a mock clean room, built at Herdmanflat for training.

All the wards at the new hospital will be made up of single rooms with en-suite toilet and shower facilities.

Miriam Anderson, project manager, said those who would be working in the new hospital were being given the chance to see the new rooms and give their input into any changes needed.

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She said: “The nursing teams have been able to come to the mock rooms to train and point out any issues that may come up.

“It is an opportunity to address any potential problems while the rooms are still in the planning stage.”

Among the innovative additions to the single ward rooms will be medical gas pumped directly to the room through a pipe network which will replace portable canisters; modesty screens at the door to the room instead of around the bed, allowing more room to work; and visual panels which allow staff to check on patients as well as giving privacy when required.

One of the most innovative additions has been a toilet roll holder, which Mrs Anderson revealed had probably led to more debate than anything else.

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She said: “You have no idea the amount of conversation which centred around toilet rolls!”

The new holder gives each patient the ability to have it on a railing which helps them access it, as well as single sheets to help those who may have lost strength or mobility on one side of their body.

Each ward will also have a clean room where all medical supplies – from controlled drugs to bandages – will be kept in a temperature-controlled facility. This means treatment rooms will no longer keep supplies on-hand, with everything stored in a single, controlled space.

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The hospital, once finished, expects to have up to 132 beds for long-stay patients, many of whom will come from the current ward operating at Crookston Care Home, Tranent, and short-stay patients.

It will also have space for 20 ortho-rehabilitation patients, people mainly recovering from strokes, as it moves to bring this service into East Lothian for the first time.

Meanwhile, there are also plans to bring in artists after £500,000 of funds were identified by the NHS for the hospital’s arts strategy.

Work has already been carried out to introduce a colour theme on each floor relating to nature, with the groundfloor schemes green for grass, the first floor orange – inspired by the trees – and the top floor blue for the sky.

The aim is to create a fluid feel through the hospital between the outdoor and indoor spaces.

Ward room will have large windows giving panoramic views and there are plans to turn the grounds into a community space for all to use, with plans to extend Haddington’s current railway walk down to the hospital and around it, as well as creating a community garden with raised beds for growing plants and vegetables, and an outdoor gym area for adults and playscape for children.

The hospital is hoping to appoint up to seven artists or creators to develop projects around the hospital and there are hopes of creating a public outdoor stage for shows and events.

Mrs Anderson said: “It is well-documented the importance of surroundings and space. We have plans to create a room where patients arriving for short-term stays can pick a piece of art or special item to go in their room during their stay, and provide longer-term patients with memory boxes.

“We want to involve the community as much as possible.”